Stand Up Paddle Guide to Mounts Bay, UK, by Ginnie Betts

Mounts Bay

Mounts Bay, with Penzance at its center, has recently been described as one of the ‘Most Beautiful Bays in the World’. Mounts Bay found in Cornwall, is in the extreme southwestern peninsula of England, UK. It has a long sweeping bay, it is one of the sunniest areas in the UK, with light blue waters, mecca of water sports, famous pirate history and the land of the Cornish pasty, it is definitely worth talking about! Stand Up Paddle Racer Ginnie Betts introduces us to this coastal idyll that she calls home, and lets us in on her secret spots that she takes her clients for her company Wild Cove Paddleboarding!

Ginnie’s link to Mounts Bay

My local spot is the beautiful Mounts Bay on the South Coast of West Cornwall, easily recognised by the iconic tidal island of St Michael’s Mount.  It has incredibly varied conditions and so attracts an equally diverse representation of watersports, we have some of the Country’s top Windsurfers, Sailors, Kiteboarders, an ever-growing SUP community and traditional Cornish gig rowers, a sport that is very close to the community.

 Photo Credit: Ginnie Betts

Local riders and SUP community

Lawrence Smith of Ocean High pioneered SUP instruction in Mounts Bay it was he who gave me my first lesson.  In Mounts Bay there are a mixed community of recreational SUP, Supfit, Sup racers and Sup surfers who all grace the shorelines according to conditions. It is a place where we can do everything! This summer looks set to be one of the best ever as more and more folks are expressing an interest to learn.

This is also the home spot of local Cornish waterman and SUP rider Jason Sawyer he has decades of experience on the water and has always been generous in sharing his knowledge about local conditions!

Renting SUP boardsSUP gear and SUP Schools

We’re blessed with many professional and long established SUP schools in Cornwall, these are the ones I’d recommend from my experience Ocean High in Mounts Bay, with Ocean Sports Centre up the road in St Ives and also on the South Coast in Falmouth there is WeSUP . But I run a school at called Wild Cove Paddleboarding!

Major local stand up paddle events

There is alot going on in Cornwall. The closest major event we have is across the border in Devon,  the ‘Head of the River Dart race’ which attracts hundreds of people.   The event scene is growing in Cornwall though with the annual Celtic Cup held at Carbis Bay, the SUPFEST at Polkerris Bay and national selections for the British Supsurf team at Fistral in Newquay.

  Photo Credit: Ginnie Betts

Best SUP spots and best spots to train

There are too many to mention everyone has their personal preferences.  I think West Cornwall is one of the best places in the world to be SUP paddler because of the incredible choice of beaches.  We’re a small (ish) peninsular and so can easily travel to North, South, East or West facing coasts to seek out your preferred training conditions, be that flat water, waves, headwinds or side-on chop. For coastal paddling my preferred spots are Mounts Bay or St Ives Bay, both close to my home, both have resident dolphin pods and both perfect for distance paddling.  When preparing for inland races I go to the Fal River, a tidal estuary that runs between Truro and Falmouth, it’s a protected area of outstanding natural beauty but you have to be a competent paddler to go there alone – conditions change very quickly.
 Photo Credit: Ginnie Betts

Best Stand up Paddle downwind runs in (your spot)

Mounts Bay can be pretty amazing for DWs on a good South Westerly.  When the sea state and swell are aligned nicely, Mousehole to Porthleven is a fantastic run, or the reverse on an Easterly.

And as a tourist…

Where do you begin? There are so many coves and beaches to explore when you are done paddleboarding. There is the coastal path the runs all the way round cornwall, you can walk all the way to the iconic Lands End! But, above all, just don’t come to Cornwall without finding a way to get on or in the water!

Feature Photo Credit: Ocean High

About the Author

Helen Trehoret

SUP, OC1, V6, Surfski ... and field hockey coaching, Helen is a busy British mother of two who lives in Bretagne, France with a passion for all things Ocean. Helen runs Barrachou SUP, a SUP tour company specialized in excursions around Bretagne and Scotland.

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